Sometimes you apply for more than one job, and sometimes both employers will offer you a position. Maybe you already have a job but you had considered changing careers and applied for another job, only to decide that you didn't really want it after all. It turns out that how you decline a job matters just as much as how you leave a job. Be polite, be prompt and don't burn any bridges behind you.
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Be prompt in responding to all of your job offers, including the ones you decide to turn down. The longer you take to let hiring managers know that you have accepted a position elsewhere or decided to remain where you are, the more you waste others' time and the more unprofessional you will appear. An article on Lifescript.com reminds us that "You never know when you might run across the interviewer again" and goes on say that in some industries hiring managers from different, competing companies communicate, and a bad impression with one hiring manager could spread through the rest of the industry.
Place a phone call to the company or companies that you have decided not to work for and thank the hiring manager for her time. Let her know you appreciate the effort she took to review your file and interview you and that you are grateful for the company's interest. According to the Purdue University Online Writing Lab, you should be polite but firm in declining the position. Mention that you look forward to potentially working together in the future but be sure to let them know that you have decided not to accept their offer at this time.
Send a follow-up letter or an e-mail to the hiring managers explaining, politely but firmly, why you have decided not to accept their offer at this time. An article on the Career Services website of Virginia Tech says that you should "never say anything negative in writing about the employer, even if you have had a negative experience," and Job-Interview-Site.com says that you should be "politically correct." In other words, be polite and explain why you decided not to accept their offer without saying anything bad about the company in the process. This keeps the door open for you should you decide to apply at this firm again in the future.
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